SteelSeries Rival 500 Review

SteelSeries Rival 500 Review

How many buttons are too many buttons? Three too many? Five? How about fifteen? Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been checking out the SteelSeries Rival 500 a fifteen button mouse which was designed for MMO’s and MOBA’s. It was a little overwhelming at first but after a couple of games and some customization, I was ready to review it.

Features

  • PixArt PMW3360 Optical Sensor
  • 15 Button Layout
  • Customizable Tactile Alerts
  • Reinforced left and right switches
  • Next-Gen side button design
  • Customizable in SteelSeries 3 Engine

Technical Specs

  • Weight - 129 g, 0.284 lbs
  • Height - 118.75mm, 4.68in
  • Width - 78.34mm, 3.08 in
  • Depth - 43.34mm, 1.71in
  • Cable Length - 2m, 6.5ft

Testing

It’s been a couple of years since the last time I tested out a new SteelSeries device. Right after plugging in the SteelSeries Rival 500 I went and download the SteelSeries Engine 3 software. This allows you to customize the mouse and every button on the mouse, its sensitivity which includes its acceleration and deceleration. You can even adjust the color of the Steelseries logo on the mouse which is a nice touch. Although it’s becoming more and more standard you can have individual profiles for each game you play. The software is extremely versatile and doesn’t have to just be used for games. If you want to create shortcuts in any piece of software you can. The SteelSeries Engine 3 software is both powerful and easy to use even if the options are overwhelming.

There is also a feature called Gamesense which currently is limited to a handful of games including DOTA 2, CS: Go and MineCraft. These are profiles that are specifically built for the games in mind and will have actual reactions to things that happen in the game. There a are a bunch of preset actions that you can then customize the Rival 500’s reaction to with lights, vibrations and the like. If more games get added to this engine, it could really enhance the mouse’s wider appeal. Right now though it’s a pretty nice addition if it supports the games you play.

In terms of design, the construction of the Rival 500 feels solid. It is slightly on the bigger side, but that probably isn’t all that surprising given the number of buttons. But not only is it bigger but it feels weighty in your hand. After using this mouse for some very extensive game sessions I can say that the weight never becomes a problem but is noticeable. One thing I always worry about with wired mice are the cords and although the cord is rubber on the Rival 500 it feels thick and I don’t see it coming apart anytime soon. That’s good since this is an $80 mouse.

In terms of testing this mouse out on games, I played a multitude of games and developed profiles for each of them. I played games from all genres like The Witcher 3, Overwatch, Planet Coaster, and Cities: Skylines. I may not be the target demographic for this mouse (as it’s aimed for MMO’s and MOBA’s) but I went through the process of customizing the mouse profile for each game and tweaked it as I went. There’s a major time commitment that comes with the initial setup and tweaking but once you get a profile that feels natural for you it’s a great feeling. None of the games I played necessarily needed all fifteen buttons but having the option was a nice to have.

The Rival 500 was a joy to use. It’s got a great feel, and once I got over the hurdle of just understanding where the buttons were on the sides and top of the mouse I started to become more and more comfortable. Even for the longer gaming sessions, I found the Rival 500 to be incredibly easy to use and more accurate than most mice I’ve used over the past couple of years. I felt like once I had put a week in with the mouse that it was fully customized to the exact device I needed it to be which was great.

rival500_01.png

Overall

My biggest gripe with the SteelSeries Rival 500 is that outside of Gamesense is the mouse doesn’t come preset with popular game presets. Instead, you’re sort of left to your own devices to figure out what system will work best for you. That may not sound like a big deal but for someone who spent as much time in my first week with the Rival 500 tinkering with the profile as I did using it I can say it feels like a lot to ask the consumer. Once it was set up though the Rival 500 performed admirably. It’s not for everyone but if you’re interested in having fifteen buttons are your disposal on your mouse the Rival 500 is a great choice.

I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to try and bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.